Richard Dickerman, former Brotherhood Mutual winner, will share with us a recap of each week from his own perspective.
"IN AND OUT OF THE PITSTOP"
April 24, 2017
There are times in the race the car needs to go into the pits for refueling and corrections. For some of the contestants this week has been a visit to the pit stop. There is some pain going on that if not dealt with could lead to injuries that can lead to hold contestants back. FWSW goes quickly into pitstop mode with them. They found out the cause of the pain and then determine what training alterations need to be made for the contestants. Some need a break from high impact training. That doesn't mean they have to sit out from training. The pools at Spiece get used by them to be able to get in a workout in a way that will help them heal instead of causing further injury. Even the pitstop needed a pitstop this week. The pool was closed so alterations need to be made. EJ came up with a plan that Tuesday so the contestants were able to do a workout outside of the pool
To some of the others Tuesday brought a new experience. They have used the famous sleds before but not the way Josh and Rick had them planned. One sled was set up as usual. Next to that one was a short one that they had to bend over both ways to push it. A third one was set up for them to walk backwards pushing the sled with their back. A forth one had a long rope attached to it and the contestants had to sit on the ground pulling it to themselves and then push it back ready for the next person. If the usual wasn't hard enough, the level got raised up.
The week continued with some of the old familiar routines like party trains and boxing gloves, but the intensity was notched up. Each of the contestants also got introduced to the wonders of the Stair Master with the promise that Rick had something special planned for them with that machine in the upcoming week.
Once again the weather went bad and the midweek runs were held in the gym running around basketball and volleyball games being played on the floors. Made for congestion but the contestants didn't let them stop them from getting their run/walks done. The weekend also brought a new fun. Instead of doing their usual Saturday walk/run, they waited for Sunday and did it as part of the 5K Formula For Life. All the contestants did great and being part of a race brought a special excitement to their run.
Another great week down and another time of great effort by each of the contestants as they keep focused for the 500th lap.
"100 MILES DONE 400 TO GO"
he April 17, 2017
After 40 laps around the track at the Indy 500 the racers have gone 100 miles. They are 1/5 of the way through the race but they still have 400s mile more to go. They can't drop their commitment or energy level. They need to keep focused and keep pushing themselves to do better to gain the prize.
The FWSW contestants are at that same point in their race. They are 3 weeks or 1/5 of the way into the season. Improvements are being seen. More is able to be done. This however is not a time to rest in the accomplishments but to keep going forward. No longer can they remain doing just what they were doing at the beginning. If they truly are to finish their race with their heads held high the training needs to keep growing pushing them into higher levels so they can accomplish so much more. Their bodies have settled into the routine of the marches and stretches. The body is learning to compensate for those changes. New changes need to take place to keep their bodies improving.
Week 3 brought those changes to the contestants. CeCe was back from vacation full of energy and excitement. EJ took the week off so the contestants could have the joy of CeCe all week long. She came ready to push the contestants to new heights. Changes were coming and the contestants took them on with all they had.
No longer did the contestants just stay in the large group doing activities together. Tuesday saw them dividing and conquering around Spiece. Marie took the Red Team up to the Gravity area where they got to use the gravity machines along with other exercises to make a circuit of activities using every part of their body. The rest of the contestants and alumni spent the hour doing different stations around the facilities. One station was once again hitting the wall and doing other activities with their boxing gloves on. The next station was going into the back room and pushing sleds with weights on. Yes those sleds you see being used on the Biggest Loser are also used by the Smallest Winners. Rick just loves watching everyone pushing those sleds. One warning with the sleds, when you hear Rick asking if anyone smells smoke you better quickly get the sled to the person waiting for it or you will get caught with the hot potato fire drill and have to do an extra run with the sled. The final stage was with the original party animal Tina. She welcomes everyone to come and enjoy her party train. The party train is going up and down the stairs really pushing those legs. Everyone gave their all and finished the morning knowing they have accomplished great things.
Wednesday, CeCe brought them into the big group training room where they did exercises on the steppers. Just a slight elevation can make a big difference in any exercise you do. The room also has a stage in it and CeCe loves getting volunteers to be on the stage in front of everyone "leading" the group in the exercises they are doing. The smiles on the contestants' faces as they came out of the room were big. It was a hard workout, but it was something different and many of them enjoyed trying the new things and seeing what their bodes can do.
Thursday was back into the pool. Once again a very hard workout, but the commitment level of this group was shown as they did wall kicks for 5 minutes straight. Wall kicks are holding onto the edge of the pool and then getting your legs up and kicking them until the trainers say to stop. It may sound easy, but try getting into the pool and doing it for just a minute yourself.
Friday brought everyone back together. It was Kim's birthday and the contestants got to join in the celebration with Kim leading special exercises chose for her day by CeCe. Once again the gloves came out and there were so many things everyone had to do while wearing those gloves. There wasn't a dry shirt in the house when it was all done, but everyone was proud of what they had done.
Finally the weather cooperated and all the run times were able to be done outside. Running is starting to be added to their time. Saturday the group met together and covered 3 miles nonstop on the path. Those with injuries weren't left out. They spent the time in the pool burning their bodies with the training awaiting them there.
3 weeks done, 12 to go. No cutting back. Full throttle ahead.
"THE ROAR OF THE ENGINES AND THE ENERGY IN THE AIR"
April 10, 2017
There is just something special they say about being at the race track during an actual race. The air is just filled with the energy of excitement. The roaring sound of the engines just dominate the stands. It is just something you can feel and almost taste.
That is how week 2 felt with FWSW. There was a roar of the contestants that was contagious. Even though they have been getting up early for workouts and spending their evenings preparing for the next day, their attitude was still in hyper-mode. If they were exhausted as they adjusted to the schedule they didn't show it. They came ready for action. Spiece rang out with the chatter as they circled the gym and the pool. Jokes were being made mixed in among the cheers and encouragements they were calling out to each other. The energy level just had an electrifying feel to it. They were like rubber bands that were all twirled up ready to be released. This week was another week of just walking but you could see many of them chumping at the bits, raring to let their legs go and propel them even faster for the run group times. This group is excited and eager to push themselves and experience all they can out of the program.
CeCe was on vacation so EJ was on tap everyday but pool day. That meant starting each session with those stretches with such majestic names - "IronCross", "Scorpion", "Bridges" and the very regal name - "Dead Bug". Each of these stretches are so very important to help loosen up the muscles and keep them safe for the workout to come. Then more marches, and butt kicks, and side steps, and zombie walks - all keeping them moving and adding to the stretching that will help them for so much especially the half marathon in July. This week added more wall sits. How low can they go and then keep it until the time is up. Going for a minute . . . almost there . . . EJ, Ashley are you sure your watches are working? They did it though. The stayed down until time was called. Friday brought a new thing. That poor wall, it has never done anyone any wrong, but yet there it was just standing there while over 50 people put on boxing gloves and kept hitting it over and over again. They would go with soft hits and then giving it all they had. Oh they would give the wall a break as they did some of their other exercises with the gloves on, but then back they came, beating that wall with all that they had. It is surprising the wall is still standing with all the abuse it took that day.
Oh how great it was to hear at the end of each day the opinion of the trainers. The contestants are doing good and it shows. The roar and the energy are high as the enthusiasm and commitment stay solid.
Thursday is no break day. The contestants are in the pool and the alumni mentors are under Rick's and Elizabeth's watchful eyes (Rick's eyes seem to have a special glimmer of happiness watching Elizabeth put the alumni through their paces). The pool is a safer place for the body. The support of the water helps makes things not have as big an impact, so the trainers can push the contestants even harder with the exercise in the pool. Yes Thursdays are different but not easier.
Rain came in forcing both the Wednesday and Thursday night run clubs to be inside. So grateful that Spiece allowed the contestants to walk around the courts instead of the smaller track. So much better on the legs and so much easier as not having to worry about congestion with other walkers and runners. Both nights had big groups of contestants, family, friends, and alumni. It was obvious to all we were there with purpose. Saturday morning out to the SW we all went. 30 minutes of walking - 15 out and 15 back. Once again the excitement was seen in the chatter and energy everyone brought to the time.
Two weeks down just thirteen more to go. They will be gone before you know it. The cars are racing right along and have their sights on that finish flag awaiting them in July.
"AND LAP 1 IS DONE"
APRIL 1, 2017
Week 1 is done, no April Fools. All things new have now become common place. This week was filled with new things for the contestants.
Monday night was their first weigh-in. It was the point to see where the contestants started at. To understand the effects of the program you need to know where you started and see the changes. Not only did they discover their starting weight they also ran their first timed mile. At the end of the program they will run the timed mile again to show them how much they improved. Another great way to discover how far they have come is to see the pictures of their progress through the program. They definitely will have plenty of pictures to look at. It seems like each time they turn around Lennart is there with his camera taking pictures after pictures. In week one alone he has taken over 1000 pictures.
Tuesday morning the invasion took place. If you quickly looked down on the basketball court from the upstairs track you would think that a bag of giant skittles had been poured out on the floor. The basketball court is covered with 25 contestants, 9 work-along alumni, 25 alumni mentors, plus the trainers all wearing colorful shirts bringing a great splash of color to the normal court wood floors. And now the training begins. Is it going to be like The Biggest Loser? Are they going to pushing us till we can't go any further? Will they be putting puke buckets behind us? So many questions may have been going through their heads as to what to expect but they would soon learn what EJ had planned for them. First they had to learn stretches to help keep their muscles and joints safe They had to get on the floor and swing their legs to the other side of their body. It didn't take too long before the sweat begins to pour out on the dusty floor. No wonder they got two shirts. Washing of their gym clothes will become a regular part of their weekly lives. They have now learned the stretches that will be a part of their routine what comes next? It's time to march. Get those knees up high. Swing your arms. It is opposite arm opposite leg. Sounds so simple. Try concentrating on the swinging of your arms and the swing that would be so natural now becomes a comical mess. That is it becomes a mess for some, but not these contestants. They seem to have great coordination. Other movements are given them while they stand in place then they start crossing the courts with the motions they have learned. That is it. Sounds simple yes? Well everyone left sweaty knowing they had worked out.
Wednesday brings them soft speaking CeCe. CeCe is anything but soft spoken. She works them with more stretches and movements. They break into circles so they can work with each other to encourage the fellow members of their team. They also learn other new things besides motion. They also learn new phrases which they will hear in their sleep through this program: "If it doesn't challenge you it doesn't change you" "If it was easy everyone would do it" CeCe is full of energy and inspiration. Her personality fills the two basketball courts that hold the contestants and alumni. EJ may be quieter and CeCe energetic but there are two things they have in common: they both know what they are talking about and they both deeply care for the contestants and to see them gain their success. Those two things are true of all the staff members for this program. Each person involved is an expert in their field and each one has a big heart caring for those they get to work with.
Thursday is pool day. A day in the pool and away from the alumni mentors (they get to work under the watchful eyes of Rick and trainer Elizabeth), this must be a nice break in the week. Once they get in the pool the see why there are no alumni mentors. There are 34 in the pool and it is full. Can you sweat in the pool? Just ask any of the contestants. The water brings a new feeling, but the workout intensity is just as high. It is remarkable what can actually be done in the pool.
Friday brings back CeCe. CeCe comes with a new heart for them. She has mats furnished for their comfort on the floor. You should worry when things are given for your comfort. The comfort is to allow them to do more intensity while they are on the floor. The workout was up a slight bit from Wednesday's. The contestants respond with the greatest attitude which fit the colorful shirts they wear. CeCe is so proud of their attitude she gives them a break at the end of the workout. As the alumni mentors put the mats away, the contestants are invited to take a rest and have a seat. Only problem is there are no chairs, they end their first week with the first of many wall sits.
One other thing the contestants have to look forward to is the half marathon at the end of the program. The program works to prepare them for that as well. This week their mid-week and Saturday run groups kept the contestants walking for 30 minutes. It was so great seeing contestants, alumni, family, and friends all gather together to do the walk together.
Week one is done. They have finished their first lap. They have seen the basics of all that awaits them. They have met and worked with the trainers. They have gotten into the pool. They have started their training for the half. Now just like an auto race, they have seen everything there is on their first lap, now they just keep going over it improving and intensifying as each new lap is completed.
"LADIES AND GENTLEMEN START YOUR ENGINES"
MARCH 28, 2017
And they are off. This morning began the first workout of 60 total workouts that the contestants will go through during their FWSW training. In many ways their journey has begun, but in many other ways their journey has already started.
To some they would say it started last night at their first weigh-in and nutrition class. Others may say it began with the orientation Sunday. Still others will say it began when they made it through the first or second rounds of the selection process.
When did this journey really begin? It began when they heard about FWSW and made the commitment to apply for it. That starting point was more than likely a very hard and maybe even painful first step to take. I know, I remember when I did it, especially making the 2 minute video. It was at that moment that the decision was made to give up the old ways and turn to something else. I know for me it was realizing that my 58 years of excuses and finding reasons for my being overweight was a waste. I finally had to take a look at the real reason for my problem and acknowledge that the real reason was myself and my choices. Until a person comes to the decision that they are the sole reason for their problem they are powerless to do anything about it. If they are not the source of the problem, then how do they know they have the power to overcome it. It is hard to admit that you are the cause of your problem and stop blaming others. These contestants have taken that hard step and started their engines to go for the finish line and a new life. Our society can make us feel ashamed of ourself when we come to such a point. None of these contestants should feel that way, rather they are to be commended for being brave enough to take that step and decide to make a change. Since you are reading this you probably know at least one of the contestants. If you do help them as they are leaving the starting line by letting them know how proud you are of them for taking this hard step and gaining control of their life.
Every good racer needs a great team to help them go. FWSW has assembled the best caring team of coaches, nutritionists, behavioralists, and mentors. Spiece is providing a great facility and Three Rivers Running Company is helping provide the running shoes they need. They are receiving all they need from a team. In my future articles I will share stories of some of the ways this support team is helping the contestants along the way.
Every good racer needs something else. They need a good fan base to cheer them on. When things get rough (and they will) and the temptation to quit comes upon them (which it will) the one thing that can help them through will be fans cheering and encouraging them on. Please, please, please by a part of that fan group that these contestants need. Read their blogs and comment on them to encourage them. Read my articles to understand what they are going through. Send them notes and other forms of encouragement. Let them know they are not alone but that they have many supporters cheering them on and who are so very proud of them. They need each of you so much.
There I am finished with my soap box. I promise no more soap boxes but interesting and encouraging stories of the life of a FWSW contestant. Join these contestants on their journey and help them celebrate victory when they cross the finish line this July.